Why Should Project Managers Always Have a Staffing Agency on Speed-Dial?

Quick Summary - When it comes to IT staffing, any company able to source all of the staff and skills it needs locally is quite lucky. But who do you call when someone quits, a new hire doesn’t show up (ghosting), or you need to ramp up quickly?

Why Should Project Managers Always Have a Staffing Agency on Speed-Dial?

That’s part of what’s involved in contingency planning and that’s part of a project manager’s job. For these reasons and more, PM’s keep a direct line with a staffing agency they can trust.

6 mins read

Project manager responsibilities

Project managers have a complex job with a long list of responsibilities. Their top role involves overseeing developers in creating software that works, that people actually want to use, on time and within budget. Part of this role means keeping the project on track and having contingency plans should something go wrong. Concurrently, project managers must also be prepared for company growth and have a plan to expand their team as coincides with each funding round.

As we’ve identified previously, managing retention and turnover is a continuous risk in any development team, it’s disruptive and costly. This is especially the case for tech startups as it’s not uncommon for their turnover to exceed 25% (versus an industry average of 12%). Aggravating matters is that new-hire turnover is highest during their first 90 days on the job. This is one reason why project managers should always have a staffing agency on speed-dial.

Time is ticking for everyone, but it’s especially intense for startups. When you receive funding so you can expand your development team, the ability to ramp up fast can have huge dividends. However, it’s also an extra challenge to bring aboard everyone with all of the skill sets needed in an efficient and timely (instead of piecemeal) manner. Staffing agencies specialize in sourcing entire teams.

There are several other advantages staffing agencies provide, but one of them is simply mitigating the Opportunity Cost involved in a proper hiring process.

Comparing hiring timelines and processes

This chart, though simplified, breaks down the stages of the hiring process. For direct hires, this is an optimistic scenario in many regards and subject to many variables and limitations. Variables include company size, use of recruiters, job title, and location, for starters. Direct hiring can also be limited in number and qualifications by the local talent pool. Additionally, the fully-loaded cost of one in-house developer, even working from home, can be 2-4x greater than outsourcing with equally qualified developers.


Timeline Comparison of Direct Hires vs. Outsourcing via a Staffing Agency

The hiring process is quite involved when bringing on in-house developers. Posting the job involves creating the job description, getting it approved, and actually posted on job boards, or distributing it to recruiters. That may not take a whole week, but waiting for applications, reviewing and vetting references, and scheduling interviews can take significantly longer. While interviews generally run 30 minutes to an hour, many companies conduct a second round. Wages and terms need to be agreed upon, and if the individual is already employed, it’s fair for them to provide two weeks’ notice to their current employer. Onboarding (for everyone) typically takes 1-3 months, but we can presume after the first week they are contributing to productivity.

Staffing agencies already have a vetted pool of developers, designers, and IT specialists. You merely need to tell the agency the skills, positions, and other specifications you require – and they get to work finding the best matches for you. You get to see their qualifications and interview each developer to see if they’re a good match for your team. The time you talk with your staffing agency to a developer’s “Day One” – is often as short as 10 business days or 5 days for part-time developers. Some high-demand roles may take longer, ML/AI specialists, data scientists with expertise in a specific industry, etc.

IT staffing agency benefits for program managers

Wages for software developers factor as the highest line item cost in software development. Whether you need to replace one of your developers or scale up your existing team, you have a quick source to compare costs. In SkillValue’s Where to Find the Best Developers in 2019, US software developers ranked #27 globally in technical proficiency – while Ukraine ranked #5. Their analysis was based on 550 technical assessments, with Ukrainian developers scoring 93.17% vs. their American counterparts scoring 84.59%. There’s no loss in coding skills and we also make sure that all developers we recommend have high to very high English fluency.

Other benefits for Project Managers include:

  • Traditional hiring is a non-scalable 1-to-1 process. By finding the right staffing agency, you gain a 1-to-many partner you can trust to introduce you to the best developers available for your project.
  • Staffing agencies cover nearly all of the HR functions – payroll, taxes, benefits, etc., so your startup can remain lean without sacrificing quality.
  • Short-term or long-term, staffing agencies provide project managers elasticity to better scale with their software development lifecycle.
  • Staffing agencies help narrow wage variability so you can more easily provide more accurate software development cost assessments.
  • Developers from Ukraine have high retention rates, but if one does give notice, the staffing agency can rapidly source their replacement.
  • When outsourcing, staffing agencies also provide you the option to directly hire developers to your remote in-house team.

Many startups don’t have a dedicated Human Resources Team leaving it to the Founder, CTO, Project Manager, or Software Engineering Manager to cover the hiring process. This opens up possibilities for mistakes, but also takes time away from other important duties.

Outsourcing for developing distributed team management skills

Some companies don’t like to outsource because they prefer to work with a tight-knit team. That’s understandable but properly managed, outsourced developers can also form very close bonds with your team, too. We can help with that, suffice that from a competitive perspective not outsourcing could be holding your company back – if not now, it will in the future.

Startups and companies seeking to grow may benefit by outsourcing on a small scale simply to develop their own internal distributed team management skills. You may have an aspiring developer with the potential to be a software engineering manager. Advancing as a team leader is their most obvious step forward. The most practical and cost-effective way to facilitate that is by having them lead a feature team and coordinating the efforts of 3-5 remote developers. Or, from another perspective, planning the future development of your company depends upon “building teams of teams.”

Maybe you’d like to talk about your situation and how we can help you integrate distributed teams into your company’s projects and operations? If so, please let us know – call us toll-free at 1-800-PERCEPTIONBOX or please use the form below. Also, you can get a no-obligation quote using our Team Cost Calculator. Tell us what you need and we’ll get back to you asap with the current going rates.


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